Manager Update: Kevin Long Vs. The Really Crappy Field


I fully expected the Mets managerial search to be a farce. I assumed it would play out like everything does during the offseason in Flushing. The media will report that the Mets are “expected to speak to” or “interested in” [insert coveted coach] but they won’t land any of those candidates. Instead they’ll hire the first internal candidate to raise his hand and work for nothing. At the moment that’s Kevin Long.

And before I give an update on all the “progress” that has been made in the Mets managerial search, I want to make something clear. I don’t have a problem with Kevin Long as a candidate. He’s a respected hitting coach. He told Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy to hit the ball in the air and ideally out of the stadium, and they both became really good at that. I guess that makes him a genius.

I’m pissed because: 1) It’s bananas that the Mets would consider promoting an internal candidate after the horrendous season they just had. 2) We all assumed before Terry Collins was fired that the Wilpons would probably replace him with a loyal internal candidate. They’d promote a loyal potted plant from the clubhouse before they’d consider an external candidate who might question the way they run things in Flushing.

Anyway, here’s how the Mets managerial search has progressed thus far:

  • The Mets told the mainstream media that they were interested in former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, former Met Robin Ventura, highly coveted Astros bench coach/former Met Alex Cora, and former Mets bench coach Bob Geren.
  • Bob Geren recently said he’s not interviewing until the Dodgers playoff run has concluded, and he originally took the job out west to be near family. It seems unlikely that he’d come back east.
  • Jon Heyman reported Ausmus turned down an interview with the Mets and Ventura has no interest in the job. Double veto.
  • Now sources in Puerto Rico are reporting the most desirable candidate Alex Cora is a “99% chance” lock to be the Red Sox manager. Cora is supposedly meeting the Mets today for a sham interview. Ausmus and Ventura wouldn’t even bother going through the motions for our “highly coveted” job (LOL).

With all those initial candidates dropping out, here is the rumored list of confirmed interviews:

  • Super Joe McEwing apparently doesn’t believe in defensive shifts and possibly evolution and vaccinations (both unconfirmed).
  • Manny Acta has a horrendous 372-518 career managerial record and flopped in stints in Washington and Cleveland. He was also a former coach on Willie Randolph’s Mets staff so he’s basically an internal candidate. Pass.
  • Mickey Callaway is seemingly the only desirable external candidate (other than Cora) coming in for an interview. Mickey is the Indians pitching coach and a respected managerial prospect. My only reservation with Callaway is that I assume he’ll represent a change in overall pitching philosophy for the organization. Given that the organizational pitching philosophy was supposedly a strength of our stupid franchise as recently as 6 months ago, I’m not sure if that type of change will sit well with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and the other young pitchers currently in the majors. We’ve already heard Noah Syndergaard complain about the firing of Dan Warthen and basically call the organization out for scapegoating him. I wonder how receptive these guys will be to a totally new voice that directly challenges the way they go about their business. Maybe that’s what they need.

Just in case you lost track, that leaves Kevin Long as the only candidate to actually interview so far in this “extensive” managerial search. I see the Long promotion as inevitable. That being said, it’s almost pointless to debate the next manager since all managers suck eventually. Joe Girardi won a World Series in 2009 and Yankees fans seemingly don’t like him. Joe Maddon won last year and everyone is complaining about his decision making in the playoffs this year.

These managers are all replaceable. Ten years from now in this age of big data and automatization, one robot baseball manager will be able to do the job of four humans anyway. And even the robot skipper will still screw up challenges and bullpen decisions in big spots and be hated by the fans. As long as the Mets don’t re-hire Ray Ramirez as the next manager I’ll be fine with the decision. Let’s just focus on adding talent to the roster.

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